20 Most Famous Paintings of All Time
While we are inundated with art day-in and day-out, there are a few special pieces that have transcended time and culture and have slated their place in art history. Below is a gallery of 20 of the most famous paintings of all time - recognizable pieces from the ages that will never be forgotten.
1. The Mona Lisa
Any list of Most Famous Paintings
would be incomplete without the mention of the Mona Lisa
by Leonardo da Vinci. This infamous portrait of Lisa del Giocondo was completed some time between 1503-1519 and currently on display at the Musee du Louvre in Paris.
IMG SOURCE: Ibiblio
2. Starry Night
Vincent van Gogh has painted countless well-known pieces; however, his painting Starry Night
is widely considered to be his magnum opus. Painted in 1889, the piece was done from memory and whimsically depicts the view from his room at the sanitarium he resided in at the time.
IMG SOURCE: Spontaneous Derivation
3. The Scream
Using oil and pastel on cardboard, Edvard Munch painted his most famous piece, The Scream,
circa 1893. Featuring a ghoulish figure that looks like the host from Tales from the Crypt,
the backdrop of this expressionist painting is said to be Oslo, Norway.
IMG SOURCE: Edvard Munch
Inspired by the bombing of Guernica, Spain, during the Spanish Civil War, Pablo Picasso completed this most famous piece, Guernica,
in 1937. This piece was originally commissioned by the Spanish government and intended to depict the suffering of war and ultimately stand as symbol for peace.
IMG SOURCE: Artchive
5. The Persistence of Memory
Painted in 1931 by yet another Spanish artist, Salvador Dali's The Persistance of Memory
is one of the most recognizable and individual pieces in art history. Depicting a dismal shoreline draped with melting clocks, it is thought that Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity
inspired this bizarre piece.
IMG SOURCE: Moma
6. Three Musicians
At first glance it might look like a collage but Pablo Picasso's famous painting, Three Musicians is actually an oil painting. Completed in 1921, he painted two very similar paintings that are mutually referred to as Three Musicians and can be found in the New York MoMA and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
IMG SOURCE: Own A Painting
7. A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
Using the unique technique of pointillism,
creating a complete image that is made up of only distinct individual dots, the French painter Georges Seurat brings us his most famous piece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
IMG SOURCE: Wikimedia
8. Girl with a Pearl Earring
Considered by some to be the "Mona Lisa of the North," this enchanting painting by the Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer, features exactly what the title infers - a Girl with a Peal Earring.
Completed circa 1665, this piece can now be found in the Mauritshuis Gallery in the Hague.
IMG SOURCE: Blogspot by Vermeer
9. Whistler's MotherWhistler's Mother
is the truncated name for James McNeill Whistler's very famous portrait originally known as Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist's Mother.
Painted in 1871, it's one of the few American pieces on this list - although it is owned by a Parisian museum and therefore rarely seen in the states.
IMG SOURCE: Daily Art Fixx
10. Portrait de L'artiste Sans Barbe
Although the title isn't very creative, Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait without Beard
is certainly one of the most notable paintings of all time. While Van Gogh has painted many portraits before, this is the most notable because it's one of the few that depicts him without a beard. Additionally, having sold for $71.5 million in 1998, it is one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.
IMG SOURCE: Most Expensive Things
11. The Night Watch
In its native Dutch tongue, De Nachtwacht
is most popularly referred to in modern culture as The Night Watch
. Using oil on canvas, Rembrandt (van Rijn) was commissioned by a militia captain and his 17 militia guards in 1642 to paint their company, in an effort to show off for the French Queen that would be visiting.
IMG SOURCE: Rijks Museum
12. The Kiss
Easily touted as Gustav Klimt's most famous painting, The Kiss
is a realistic yet geometric depiction of a kissing couple, completed in 1908 in Vienna, Austria. What makes this piece different than the other oil paintings on the list is that it also incorporates gold leaf on canvas (in addition to oils).
IMG SOURCE: Artchive
13. Water Lilies
French painter Claude Monet painted a series of 250 pieces known as Water Lilies
between 1840 and 1926 - it's exactly what it sounds like, 250 paintings depicting a water lily pond from his backyard. While this might not be one individual painting, considering the collection is spread amongst the most renowned galleries of the world, the series is a deserving installment on this list.
IMG SOURCE: Ibiblio
14. The Flower Carrier
Known in its native tongue as "Cargador de Flores," The Flower Carrier
was painted by Diego Rivera in 1935. Widely considered to be the greatest Mexican painter of the twentieth century, Rivera was known for his simple paintings dominated by their bright colors and The Flower Carrier
is no exception.
IMG SOURCE: Garden of Praise
15. American Gothic
Marking the list as another iconic piece in American art, American Gothic,
painted by Grant Wood in 1930 is a dry depiction of a farmer and his Plain-Jane daughter - The Great Depression personified.
IMG SOURCE: Harrell News
16. Cafe Terrace at Night
Never one for flashy titles, Cafe Terrace at Night
(1888) by the ever-prolific Vincent Van Gogh, is one of the most individual depictions of such a mundane setting. Though Van Gogh never signed this piece, he references his famous Cafe masterpiece in many personal documents.
IMG SOURCE: Art Gallery 2000
17. The Son of Man
The most current piece of all on this list, painted in 1964, is Rene Magrittees The Son of Man.
Although it is a self-portrait, his face is largely covered by a floating green apple and contributes to his series of paintings known as the The Great War on Facades.
IMG SOURCE: Painting Here
18. No. 5, 1948
Another of the more current pieces, painted by Jackson Pollock in 1948, the impersonally titled No. 5, 1948,
though chaotic, is a signature piece of art nonetheless and a revealing insight to the turmoil that was swirling within Pollock.
IMG SOURCE: Ibay
19. Bal du moulin de la Galette
While the imagery in this painting might not be the most immediately recognizable, having sold for $78.1 million (adjusted price of $127.4 million), French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoires Bal du Moulin de la Galette
is one of the most expensive paintings of all time and therefore, one of the most famous.
IMG SOURCE: Dotting
20. Dogs Playing Poker
Commissioned by Brown & Begelow Cigars in 1903, American painter C.M. Coolidge painted 16 unforgettable images of Dogs Playing Poker
for the brand. Spoofed many times in greeting cards and in popular culture, this series of dogs playing cards around a table is widely recognizable and truly iconic.
IMG SOURCE: BP BlogSpot
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